Just Frances

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Garbage day

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: silly, poems, ego, drink, confession

I have finally taken the garbage out. And—more importantly—the recycling. Though I admit that it happened too late.

I've just been so crazy these past few weeks that I keep missing pick-up day. Then last week I thought I was finally on the ball, only to realise that I was a day late because after a bank holiday Monday, Wednesday felt like a Tuesday. And it's not just the garbage and recycling: I've also been quite remiss in things like clearing off my coffee table and dining table. And in things like putting away my laundry after it finishes drying. And I've even been remiss in keeping the cupboards tidy.

OK, things hadn't got to Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout's state, but it was still embarrassing. Especially as I had unexpected company at the weekend and I was ever-so-conscious that my entire flat was a tip and that I was being judged for each and every empty pizza box and beer bottle that was spilling out of the recycling crate, and for all of the rubbish laying around the living room. (Though not quite as embarrassing as my last unexpected visitor who showed up to check on me after I'd been home sick in my jammies for three days!)

Why am I telling you this? Well, in part because I believe that telling you about my downfalls helps to counter any bragging I do. But it's also because I really wanted to share a poem by my favourite poet, and this seemed to be a fitting way of doing that!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out!
by Shel Silverstein (1974)

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . .
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . .
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold french fried and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That it finally touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!"
But then, of course, it was too late. . .
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate.
And there, in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
That I cannot now relate
Because the hour is much too late.
But children, remember Sarah Stout
And always take the garbage out!

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